Feature

Father Of Six Does Odd Jobs To Feed Family

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fijian of Solomon Island descent was laid off from his job on a foreign-owned fishing vessel in February.
18 Jun 2020 11:33
Father Of Six Does Odd Jobs To Feed Family
Josefa and Unaisi Kopeta with three of their children, Rosilini, Melaia and Arieta Kopeta at their Kalekana, Lami home on June 15, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Life has been a struggle for Kalekana resident and father of six children, Josefa Rogoyawa Kopeta, 42, these past four months.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fijian of Solomon Island descent was laid off from his job on a foreign-owned fishing vessel in February.

“The fishing company I used to work for kept those who had training certificate continue working while the rest of us were laid off,” Mr Kopeta said.

“It was unexpected; I have a huge family and all my children are in school, but there has been some relief as schools around the country remain closed.”

Mr Kopeta has never shied away from doing odd jobs apart from collecting used and damaged long lines (fishing) to sell.

He said he and his wife would skip meals in order for their children to eat.

“My wife asked me if I was embarrassed from going to towns selling fishing lines to people on the streets, I told her, if it keeps us fed and satisfied, I would do anything.”

He even had to live with strangers while in Rakiraki to sell fishing lines that are now used as clothes lines and can be weaved to make baskets, pot plant hangers and other things.

“I would do anything for my family because this pandemic has made living hard and survival difficult,” he said.

“At times we had nothing at all; but through the power of prayer my family receives blessings from others.”

He has now moved his vegetable plot closer to his house because people in the area would steal them when he planted them at his plantation.

“I know times are hard, but people need to help themselves instead of stealing,” he said.

“We remind our children, that the situation they are in now is temporary, we plant, fish and do odd jobs to feed and meet our needs; they need to work hard in school and be better than us.

“Education is an important tool; it can graduate us from this sort of living situation.”

Kalekana outside Lami is an informal settlement that is home to more than 400 residents.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback: ilaijia.ravuwai@fijisun.com.fj



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